Adrian Beckmann, received the Joe and Bettie Ward Award based on his excellent academic performance, character, and leadership. The award is presented to a graduate student in recognition of outstanding achievement in aging research.
Beckmann is currently working under Dr. Bess Frost, he is studying Alzheimer’s disease that focuses on how a pathological prion-like protein known as tau, can lead to neuronal death. He is in the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program in the Cell Biology, Genetics, and Molecular Medicine discipline.
“It has been a delight to watch Adrian mature as a scientist and become the intellectual leader of his project,” Dr. Frost said.
“I didn’t accomplish this alone. I wouldn’t be where I’m at professionally without the guidance and support from my mentor, Dr. Frost. She’s been instrumental to all my success here at UT Health and I’m thankful to have someone like her that I can count on and look to for leadership” Beckmann said.
Dr. Frost explained the reason why Adrian was chosen for the award, was because “he is testing a very novel hypothesis with regard to neurodegenerative disease, [and] is well positioned to produce a high-impact paper. He also recently successfully competed for an NRSA Individual Predoctoral Fellowship from The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. These fellowships are very competitive.”
His research focuses on elucidating the mechanisms of neuronal death to identify potential therapeutic targets that can be used for pharmacological intervention.
Beckamnn knew that he was passionate about science since the first time he attended a cellular biology class at Texas State University. “The time and effort I was putting in to become a well-rounded and knowledgeable scientist let me know I was passionate about the field” said Beckmann.
Beckmann chose to attend UT Health San Antonio because of the academic programs available and the flexibility surrounding those programs. He also enjoys the faculty and training opportunities in the biomedical research field of neurodegenerative disorders.
“My favorite thing about UT Health is the choice they provide students to shape their own education and tailor their own training. It’s a real service to be able to explore different facets of biology without compromising what interests you” he said.
After his research, Beckmann wishes to improve treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
“If I can develop research that moves the needle forward, even a little, towards treatment, then I’ve done my part” Beckamann said.
Dr. Frost explained Beckmann’s research is important because, “As there are currently no disease-modifying therapies for tauopathies, it is critical to understand the underlying mechanism of tau-induced brain cell death in order to identify new therapeutic targets.”
As a successful fourth-year student, Beckmann would like to tell his fellow graduate students, “anything’s possible here. As long as you foster the inner child that inspired your fascination with science and work hard, there’s no reason you can’t carve out your own success story here.”
Beckmann is looking forward to publishing his work and graduate. He’s hoping to continue his endeavors at postdoctoral position in a laboratory that studies Alzheimer’s disease. “I really enjoy the field and I think there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done” Beckmann said.
This article was written by Yi-Ting Chung, communications intern at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UT Health San Antonio. Chung is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations with a minor in Business Administration at The University of Texas at San Antonio.